Eating at least two serves of fruit daily appears to lower the risk of developing type 2 diabetes by 36%, according to a new study authored by researchers from Edith Cowan University (ECU) in Australia.
The study measured that eating at least two serves of whole fruits per day, but not fruit juice, increases insulin sensitivity significantly above the levels exhibited by those who ate less than half a serve.
Insulin sensitivity measures the ability of the body to respond to an increase in glucose levels. A person exhibiting higher insulin sensitivity will be able to lower blood glucose levels faster and producing less insulin than someone who has low sensitivity.
This is important because high levels of circulating insulin (hyperinsulinemia) can damage blood vessels and are related not only to diabetes, but also to high blood pressure, obesity, and heart disease.
"We found an association between fruit intake and markers of insulin sensitivity, suggesting that people who consumed more fruit had to produce less insulin to lower their blood glucose levels." - Dr. Nicola Bondonno, ECU's Institute for Nutrition Research, lead author.
So, if a such small change in our dietary habits would allow us to naturally increase our insulin sensitivity and better mitigate high glucose levels, this is important.
Overall, 7,675 Australians participated in the study, which took into account their fruit and fruit juice intake and the prevalence of diabetes after five years.